Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ways in Which My Baby is No Longer a Baby

Aside from the note in my calendar claiming that his third birthday is 3 weeks away, there have been an alarming number of incidents that have led me to believe that I have somehow misplaced the small, blanket wrapped baby entrusted to me by the good folks at Northside Hospital. I swear I had him just last week. I wonder if I should check the lost and found. Perhaps someone has lost their screaming, running, fire truck obsessed toddler. Oh, he really, he's mine, no more baby? Well, I guess I shouldn't be surprised considering all the clues I have been given:

1. Yesterday was his last day of art class, which goes along with...

2. Today was his last day of Gymboree. We can't make the schedule work because he is...

3. Starting preschool 5 days (!!) after his birthday. As long as...

4. He continues to use the potty and not have accidents in his...

5. Size 4T (!!!) underwear that I was sure would be too big. But is not and he wore to the church nursery who will soon...

6. Move him up into regular a Sunday School class. All the while...

7. He is constantly on the move, making up stories for his trucks and cars, asking a million and twelve questions a day (most of them "Why?") and singing songs with made up words. And driving fire trucks apparently.

Whoo, that is a lot in one summer, especially when you are supposed to still be a tiny baby. When does this growing up thing stop?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Censoring the Olympics

You may have seen my earlier post about Hollis and interactive television watching. (It's okay that my preschooler watches hours of television because it is "interactive" - whatever, I can justify anything.) The other night we somehow ended up watching tennis. No one in our family is a tennis player and it is one of the few sports that John doesn't follow, so I am not sure why it was on. I think it came on after the drag race Hollis was watching. Hey, don't judge me - like I said, "Interactive". Hollis took one look at screen and this is the conversation that followed.

Hollis: Ook, Ook it's tennis!

Me: Uh huh

Hollis: Those boys are playing tennis!

Me: Yeah

Hollis: I need a tennis racquet.


Hollis: I not have a tennis racquet.

Me: Nope, we don't have a tennis racquet.

Hollis: Oh! I DO have a tennis racquet.

This is a tennis racquet:

A rousing game of floor mat tennis ensued.
Hollis will NOT be watching the diving competition during the Olympics. And probably not archery...or fencing...or shot put...or javelin. Okay, maybe we just won't watch at all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mix-it up Mondays: Muffins

Last weekend we went to a new bread shop in town, Great Harvest Bread. I think it is a franchise, but they make their own breads, muffins, cookies, etc. We ended up with a loaf of Spinach Parmesan, yummy, but I also sampled their banana walnut muffins. They were delish and as big as my head. I have been thinking about how good they were and thought I would go get some but decided I could just make them myself. So I did. I used this recipe. I made my typical changes, 50/50 whole wheat/white flour and added flax seed. I had one this morning for breakfast and thought they turned out pretty good. Not heavy like banana bread can sometimes be. John had one too and did not give such favorable reviews. He thought they were dry and to "floury". Hmm, I didn't taste that. Oh, well to each his own. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Also, take a look at my new sidebar item. Because of Mix-it up Monday, I need to be more consistent with my workouts. The goal is to workout 5 days a week and burn 2000 calories. You can keep tabs on me over there. You can also, gently, encourage me if you see me slacking off. But, be warned, anyone who says, "Get off your fat ass and go workout, Fat Ass", will be permanently banned from this site and possibly be kicked in their fat ass. Oh, and for anyone who just can't get enough of me, I added a subscribe button so you won't miss a minute.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Strangest Question

I have been asked, on more than one occasion, whether I highlight Hollis's hair. Seriously, are there really people out there coloring three year old's hair? Don't answer that, I don't want to know. This boy won't sit still long enough to hear a 5 minute story, much less double process hair coloring. I will concede that Hollis does have good hair and a lot of it. It is shiny, reflective and golden. The kind of hair that women, myself included, spend hundreds to achieve. I can say this without bragging, because I do not take any kind of credit for it. It's his gift I suppose. I am not using any special color enhancing shampoos or conditioners, just Target brand baby shampoo and Sauve for kids conditioner (gasp! Not Johnson & Johnson? What kind of mother are you? Do you feed him nails for breakfast?). Seriously though, that is the strangest question anyone has ever asked me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mix it Monday: Tuesday Edition

When I was in school, my teachers always wrote notes on my report card saying "doesn't use time wisely". I guess this post is an example of how some things never change.
This weekend, I baked a quick bread. I love quick breads, preciously because they are quick. No kneading or yeast involved. This week's selection is a Buttermilk Chocolate Bread. It only takes about 10 minutes from the time you start until you put it in the oven. I followed the recipe with only a few changes. For the flour I used a 50/50 whole wheat/white flour blend. I buy flour already mixed this way, I don't measure it out for each recipe. I think it is King Arthur brand. It seems to work just as well as white all purpose flour for most things. However, do not try to use it to flour a pan or to roll out dough, you will end up with little whole grains everywhere. I also added about a 1/4 cup of flax seed meal. If you are interested in flax seed, this is a good website for more information. It can be used as a substitute for flour, fat or egg, but mostly I just add to the recipe. The taste is barely detectable. I also added two big spoonfuls of Nutella, just because I like Nutella. Nutella is a spread and I added it after the dry ingredients, so it didn't blend very well. If I was going to do it again I would add the Nutella with the butter and eggs at the beginning and beat them all together. I baked it for about 45 minutes and it came out perfect. A very yummy treat for breakfast or as a snack. Try it out, it's quick!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bloggy Friends

Two more of Hollis's (girl)friends have their own blogs. I swear, Hollis does have some friends who are boys. Stop by and say hello to Elle at Growing Up Adventures and Sadie at Sadie Estes. Our other blogging friends are Emma at Emma Jordan and Leah at Bagwell Babble. Go visit them all...they're real cute!

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Toddler, Slightly Damaged

Being a mother gives you a new definition of "normal". Talking to random firemen, policemen and truck drivers? Normal. Dipping apples in ketchup? Normal. Carry fourteen different cars with you everywhere you go? Totally normal. Leaving the playground and heading to the emergency room? Not normal, yet. Yesterday we decided to try out a new park that had recently been renovated. It was really sort of a fact-finding mission to decide whether or not we would use this park for Hollis's upcoming third birthday party (we will). We played on the swings and slides, climbed, ran, found sticks and rocks. As we were getting ready to leave, Hollis decided to take a stroll along a retaining wall. This is also within the realm of normal. The three foot fall off the wall and onto a cement slab was not normal. First, I thought his leg or ankle was broken because he wouldn't put weight on it. Ahh, summer, trip to the beach, starting preschool all with a cast. Awesome! Then I noticed a mark on the side of his head and thought of my friend's son who fell onto concrete and fractured his skull and had a brain bleed. This would be about the time the hysteria set it. We got in the car and started driving to The Children's Healthcare Urgent Care Center. On the way, I tried to call the pediatrician, but the nurse line went to voicemail. Then I tried to call John and that went to voicemail too. I called my parent's house and my dad answered. This was about the time I lost it and the waterworks started. For the record, crying when your child is hurt does not make him cry less. And crying while driving and talking on the phone while watching your child in the rear view mirror is not a great idea either, but hey, I'm a multitasker. Come to find out, Children's Healthcare closed that location. Why, why, why is your sign still up? Mommies in crisis do not have the wherewithal to decipher your Google Maps print off of your other locations. So, everybody back in the car. We go back to another urgent care center. When we arrive the tears(mine) start again while I am trying to explain what happened. Hollis takes over and says, "I fall down and get a booboo on my head and knee". Is it bad parenting when your child has to give out his own medical information? When he's three? I am pretty sure they only saw him in order to calm me down. I didn't even give them any information, like our names or insurance cards. They probably spent their lunch break talking about the crazy lady who came in crying. But whatever, they took his vitals and sent us over to the emergency room, "just in case". There is something about walking into an emergency room that has magical healing powers. Once we were there he was walking around (no broken bones) and climbing on chairs to see the fish. Hello, didn't you just fall on your head? The doctor finally saw us and declared him fine, of course. They brought him popsicles, stickers, a coloring book and crayons and we were on our way. At 4:00pm, none of us had eaten since breakfast so we went to lunch and had dessert in honor of no traumatic brain injuries. I hope this will not become our normal. Hollis and the $100 popsicle

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Fates are Against Me

You may remember hearing about our Father's Day tour of barbecue. Well, we decided to take that tour again this weekend. One day we will learn. The always lovely Rae was at our house on Saturday night and we decided to head over to Wallace Barbecue, knowing that they are closed on Sunday and Monday. But it was Saturday, so we were good to go. John got directions(yeah John!) and we headed out on a much shorter route. As we approached the restaurant, something seemed amiss. The parking lot was deserted, again. This is the sign we found on the door:

Who goes on vacation for two weeks and completely shuts down their business? Wallace Barbeque apparently. So while Hollis sat in the back seat chanting, "I am hungry, I want to get out, I want to eat". We started back up the Ruby Tuesday. Not that there is anything wrong with Ruby Tuesday, but is it really worth a thirty minute drive? Next time we will get directions AND call.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mix it Up Monday: Blueberries

It's not all about dessert here at Salmon and Milk. Okay, it's mostly about dessert, but this week I have something different. Hollis and I went to pick blueberries on Thursday and while I won't call our 1.25lbs a bounty, it is way more than we will eat alone. So I sat out in search of blueberry recipes. I got this cookbook as a wedding shower gift (9 years ago!) and have not really used it. All of the recipes seemed way beyond anything I could accomplish, but it has beautiful pictures of Amish Country. When I looked at the book this week, I realized most of the recipes seemed doable. Yeah, progress! So Sunday night I made Wild Blueberry Bread. Of course I substituted farmed Georgia blueberries for the wild Maine ones called for, but really who would know. I also forgot to get a lemon, so no lemon zest. The only other change I made was to use 50/50 whole wheat/white flour. The cinnamon crumb topping turned out great and really adds a lot of flavor. I was able to put it together and get it in the oven in about 30 minutes. Let me know if you try it.
Wild Blueberry Bread
1/4c butter, softened
1/2c sugar
2 large eggs
2c unsifted all-purpose flour
2t baking powder
1/4t salt
1/3c milk
1t vanilla extract
2t grated lemon peel
1c wild Maine Blueberries (or farmed GA blueberries, whichever)

Cinnamon Mixture
1/3c sugar
1/4c brown sugar
1/4c all purpose flour
2t cinnamon
2T butter, cold, cut into bits

Bread: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time. Add flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla and lemon peel all at once. Stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries.
Cinnamon Mixture: In a small bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.
Assembly: Turn 1/2 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the cinnamon mixture on top. With a butter knife, swirl cinnamon mixture into batter about 1 inch deep. Spoon remaining batter on top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon mixture and swirl lightly again. Bake until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 min; turn onto cooling rack and cool.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Why I will never be paid to blog...

or My Life in Retrospect. So I just sort of dropped all the stories about our vacation. I know all those things happened well over a week ago and are old news now, but here is the recap to get everyone caught up.

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

We visited the Statue of Liberty. We traveled 4 hours to get there. No, weren't coming from Pennsylvania, just the aptly named Long Island. We took 4 different modes of transportation. Car, Train, Subway and Ferry. It was well worth it, but gave new meaning to the tired, poor, huddled masses. Hollis's favorite part of the day had to be the ferry ride over. Somehow we managed to get a booth beside an open window. He leaned out just as far as we would let him and got sprayed with water several times. He also declared, "Wook, it's the Statue of Wiberty". You would be surprised how many Statue of Wiberties there are if you are looking for them, even one at a Red Robin in Pennsylvania. And hey, people of New York, I know you are tired and cranky and ready to go home, but you are even more tired and cranky if you are a three year old who has been dragged around all day, so get up and let me have your set on the train.

Then we went to Montauk. Which is at the opposite end of Long Island. It didn't take quite as long to get there, only and hour and a half. We stopped for lunch at Lobster Roll, mostly because it had a big sign that said "Lunch" and that is what we were looking for. Apparently, it has had some local fame and been frequented by celebrities vacationing in the Hamptons. It was yummy and I got have my cupcake that I wasn't able to get during our 4 hour trek to the Statue of Liberty. We visited the Montauk Point Lighthouse and then went to a public beach. This was not your standard Gulf Coast public beach, though. After parking the car and setting out with our shovels, pails, dumptruck and towels, we walked and walked and walked and then walked a lot more before finally reaching the water. Apparently, this was more of a camping beach. Who knew? As we walked a man even stopped, in his truck, to ask up if we were okay. I guess we were not an everyday sight. We played in the sand, picked up rocks and put our feet in the 14 degree water before making the journey back to the car. Then we paid too much for souvenir t-shirts.

The next morning we headed back to my parents house. Hollis talked for about 10 of the 12 hours we drove. And then my head exploded. The End.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Meet Scout

Ahem...since I (John) created this blog (though clearly it's no longer mine), I reserve the right to post when I feel so compelled and this is an occasion that warrants it. Meet Scout!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mix it up Monday: A Tale of Two Desserts

I am thinking of renaming this series Mix it up Sometime during the first of the Week, but maybe not until Thursday depending on how Things Go. The PRESSURE! Today has been one of those days when I was home all day and yet managed to get nothing done. I did bake this weekend though, so let's talk about that.
I had originally planned a Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake for Fourth of July. There is a great little produce stand (if your local, Johnson Ferry & Mount Vernon near Roswell Road) near Gymboree, so Hollis and I headed over there Wednesday after class. Hollis loves going and touching all the produce so if you do purchase something there, I would be sure to wash it. We picked some nice strawberries and brought them home. On Saturday, I bought the rest of the ingredients and got ready to start baking. The strawberries were rotten. Ugh. So I picked a new recipe, Sour Cream Hazelnut Bundt Cake. I love hazelnuts. So, on Sunday, during my regular grocery trip, I bought ingredients for the second dessert. Easy, right? Well, Kroger doesn't regularly carry hazelnuts. Ugh. I finally found, with the help of the nice Customer Service Boy, a can of mixed nuts that contained hazelnuts. No problem, I thought, I will just pick out the hazelnuts and skip the salt since they are already salted. Well, after dumping out the whole container and pulling one hazelnut out of Hollis's mouth, I ended up with 6. Six hazelnuts do not a 1/4 cup make. Needless to say, the cake does not have a strong hazelnut taste. So I added a little extra Nutella, because you can't go wrong with Nutella. I also used low fat instead of fat free sour cream. Through all this trauma, it turned out really well. The cake has a nice light texture and came together easily and quickly, even with an assistant. He is too busy with his own concoction to be bothered with pictures. Try this one with the right amount of hazelnuts and let me know how you like it.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Big Trip - Day Two

On our second day in New York, Mimi, G-Dad, Hollis, Melanie and I headed out to the Firefighters Museum and the Children's Museum of Long Island. John didn't go because he had decided he wanted to play the Bethpage course where the US Open will be held next year. A funny side note, in order to get on the course you have be there at o' dark thirty. Needless to say, John didn't quite make that, but he was able to get on another one of the courses and spent the day there. So, it is a really neat area they have set up, The Cradle of Aviation Museum, The Firefighters Museum and the Long Island Children's Museum all together on what is known as Museum Row. Ideally, we would have gone to the Children's Museum first and spent most of the day there, but of course Hollis chose the Firefighters Museum. I think it is a newer museum and there was not another soul there. It was like a little slice of heaven for Hollis. He got to put on the gear and sit on the firetruck and had free reign of the whole area. We finally headed over to the Children's Museum which was nice, but maybe geared for a slightly older crowd. Hollis was so geeked up he could hardly stand still long enough to see anything. Hollis was getting a little cranky on the way home, so Mimi handed him a book she had bought at the gift store. It was filled with pictures of rescue vehicles and Hollis's response was, "Wow! This is awesome! This is the best book I never seen in my whole life". Yes, he says never, not ever.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Big Trip

So, you may have heard that we went to New York. My sister and brother-in-law are living on Long Island, so the three of us went along with my parents (Mimi & G-Dad). We had about 10 days of fun and have spent this week recovering. We drove to Tennessee on Friday. On Saturday, Hollis played his first round of golf with his own "weal golf bats". They were a gift from a friend of Mimi's who's son was done with them. Originally, John had planned to take him out for 18 holes, I laughed at him in my head. We ended up "playing" 9 holes and by the 7th Hollis was asking to be carried. I told him that wasn't in my caddie contract. On Sunday, we all piled into G-Dad's "snazzy" new van and headed for New York. We made it to about Allentown, PA where we stopped for the night. The best part about the hotel was that it was across the street from an amusement park. Hollis and G-Dad went out early in the morning to watch the roller coasters and I am pretty sure everyone in the hotel heard about it. On Monday we finished up our drive to New York and of course went the wrong direction and ended up fighting NYC traffic, at least I wasn't driving! We arrived at Melanie's house Monday afternoon and relax there the rest of the day. Earlier on Saturday, while debating which of Mimi's big trucks would be able to take the trip, someone mentioned that Melanie had a truck for Hollis at her house. The first words out of his mouth on Monday afternoon were, "What kind of truck you have?". Don't let it be said that he is not paying attention. Hollis was able to experience his first ever ice cream truck on Monday. He choose the rainbow popsicle, always a classic.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Potty Talk

**A warning to all the non-mommy readers: this post contains talk about potties and my child's use, or lack thereof.

I was all ready with a post today about how my child is now potty-trained and I am brilliant and patient and everything is sunshine and flowers here. I was planning to brag, humbly, about DRIVING to New York and back without a single accident. I had examples of how well he was doing telling me it he needed to potty. You would have been dazzled by his ability to travel by car, train, subway and ferry only to stand in line before using the bathroom, all while remaining accident free. I was going to give you all the details of my ingenious potty-training method (a homemade sticker chart in the bathroom and the promise of a special treat).
But, alas...
the potty gods have gotten wind of my joy and crushed me. We have had three accidents in three days. GRRRR!! Now instead of sunshine and flowers we threats of diapers and of taking away the Army truck(the special treat). Just to be clearer than you need; I am not talking about the kind of accident that needs a change of clothes and a wipe of the floor, ooh no this is the kind that requires a special load of laundry, on hot, and lots of wipes. The award-winning quote from the past three days was while standing in the McDonald's bathroom on Monday, "I already pooped". AAAHH! What am I supposed to do with that in the McDonald's bathroom? All I will say is, if the toilet at the Lost Mt. McDonald's stops up, it possibly may be from the six wippies I flushed. But let's keep that between you and me, kthx.
Pray for me!

Hollis and the aforementioned "special treat".